Book blogger, audiobook lover and shamelessly honest reviewer. Mostly read fantasy, mystery, romance, UF and YA but all genres welcome.
After the thoroughly depressing conclusion of Hard Rain (book 2 in the series) I sincerely hoped that the world would leave John Rain alone and I wouldn’t have to hear about him again. Not because I didn’t enjoy the books but because I thought the guy deserved some peace. You have to give some kudos to an author when he makes you feel like that for a hired assassin.
Rain Storm has a (very slightly) more positive outlook. Please don’t get the impression that the book is a ray of sunshine; this series is still about alienation and missed chances. But several new characters showed up to make John’s life more interesting, including several ladies. John really likes the ladies which makes total sense because to kick ass that hard, a man needs truckloads of testosterone.
Like in previous books, the action was exciting, with very intricate fight scenes. Most of the time I couldn’t follow exactly what was going on, but the descriptions help to highlight that kicking ass is HARD! And you have to be in top condition – both physically and mentally – to be able to keep up with all those bad guys who are also amazingly good at what they do.
As expected, the cities that John inhabits (Rio, Hong Kong and Macau) become almost characters in their own right. Mr. Eisler definitely has an eye for distilling the essence of a city into words.
Even with all these new characters, John is still alienated from life, surrounded by a terrible longing for the lost chances and the impossibility of his life. John is too honest for regrets but he knows more than most of what this life has cost him.
I wondered in a detached way whether it was all part of a cosmic punishment for Crazy Jake…Or perhaps for the other things I’ve done. To be periodically tantalized by the hope of something real, something good, always knowing at the same time that it was all going to turn to dust.
It would seem amazing that a man who whacks people for a living wants a relationship, but more than anything, John Rain wants, no, needs to belong. He was a foreigner in Japan and a foreigner in the US. He has no family, no home and very few friends that he feels he cannot trust, because again and again, they have given him cause for doubt:
I told myself again that I wasn’t disappointed, that I wasn’t even terribly surprised. I learned long ago not to trust, that faith is to life what sticking your chin out is to boxing. I told myself that it was good to get some further confirmation of the essential accuracy of my worldview.
John gets lots of tail in this book but he’s constantly thinking about Midori. Because I didn’t know him, I just didn’t understand the profound effect she had in his life and now I want to re-read the first book. His pining for her was hopelessly romantic and I confess I shed lots of tears:
Midori isn’t dead, only gone. Maybe that’s why I find myself thinking of her more often than I should. I picture her face and picture the sound of her voice, the touch of her hands, the feel of her body. I have no such power of recall for scent, but know I would recognize hers in an instant and wish that I could breathe it in even once more before I die.
Mr. Nishii did a wonderful job portraying John Rain. I didn’t like his voices for the women – they were a bit too high…almost like a falsetto – and his Portuguese accent was a bit out there but hey, you can’t have it all. I’m actually sad he doesn’t narrate any more of the books.
The ending was the happiest I’ve seen in this series but I’m afraid everything will go down the drain in the next book. I guess we can’t have John being too happy! Regardless, I can’t wait to see happens next.